This Sunday, I was on a flight from DC to Atlanta, GA. And I had something happen that has never happened before. I was sitting in First Class and I look up from my iPad to see the Captain of the flight standing in front of me with the microphone in his hand. Something told me right then and there that I was going to witness something special. Captain Capra proceeded to welcome us onto the flight. He introduced the crew and thanked everyone for their business. After cutting off the microphone, he spoke directly to us in First Class and thanked us sincerely for choosing American Airlines because our business allows him to do what he loves…Flying!
I fly American Airlines exclusively for business but have flown a few times on other airlines in my life. Most “Captain Introductions” are fairly bland. “Err. Hum. Yes, this is your pilot, Captain I’m just doing my job and sitting to my right is the first officer just clocking the time. We, err, hum, We would like to thank you for choosing American Airlines today. It is our honor to fly you today. We could care less who you fly but corporate makes us thank you. Now sit down and shut up.” If they do not go the boring corporate route, some try and take the humorous route. Here is a link to some of the funny ones. The Videos at the bottom of the page are great. While the humorous route is more enjoyable than the boring corporate one. Nothing beats what Captain Capra did.
Why do I prefer what Captain Capra did over the humorous delivery? What he did was Authentic. It was real, it was not rehearsed and more importantly, it was rare! I tweeted my appreciation to American Airlines and told them that Captain Capra needs a raise, a high five and needs to be teaching this to all of their pilots.
When you think about implementing this into your business, you need to do it in an authentic and memorable way. Thanking your customers after they purchase something is expected, sending a holiday card is nice but also expected. For example, throughout the year, I send handwritten notes to the CEOs and main contacts that I have at my clients. In that note, I thank them for their continued partnership and support of our business. I ask them to please let me know if there is anything I can do to help them out. I have had clients call and take me up on my offer to help them and I do everything I can to help them out. It may be getting their kid an interview at my company, helping them find a new employee, giving them a referral for someone that may be a good client for them. Or, as I have done a number of occasions, helped them find another job after they left the one with my client.
In the first chapter of my book, I talk about the fact that “Nobody cares about you!” This is what Captain Capra gets. While he and his first officer do the amazing thing of taking a large metal object and send it flying into the air and safely bring it back down, that is not what matters. What matters, is that I and all of my fellow passengers come back to American Airlines and flies with them again. That is the difference between customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. Focus on what you can do to make your customers loyal to your company. You focus on them…you will win.